While I was on tour last year I was lucky enough to get to spend some time in the beautiful city of New Orleans. I had never been there before and I was immediately struck by how magical the city was. Our group stayed in the new downtown area, and to get to our theatre we got to walk through the popular French Quarter every day. The architecture, the people, the FOOD, the history…I felt at home and secure there.
I knew what had happened in the 9th Ward a few years before. I knew those people did not have a home and they certainly didn’t feel secure there anymore. I realized I was living in the safe bubble of my group and the French Quarter. So, with a few friends from the cast we decided to go visit the neighbourhood that was hit the hardest during the hurricane. The 9th Ward.
To say I was stunned is an understatement. I was shocked and angry! I couldn’t believe this was still the USA. I felt like I had stepped into a war zone. There was no one around, stray dogs everywhere, homes, or what was left of them, were in shambles, and there was nothing we could do to help.
Suddenly we caught a glimpse of some homes that had clearly been rebuilt, and then one of us noticed a MAKE IT RIGHT trailer. In that moment we turned to go back to our hotel and when we got there we immediately went online and made a joint donation to the MAKE IT RIGHT foundation. We had seen with our own eyes what Brad Pitt and his organization were doing and we felt very strongly about wanting to help them.
Since then I have kept track of what is happening in the 9th Ward and I am so happy to say that the neighbourhood is looking better and better everyday. It feels good to know that it’s people like us, making donations and volunteering time, that is making all the difference. That’s why I want to raise more awareness for this organization and get them as much help as possible. The people of New Orleans deserve everything we have and there is no reason in the world why they shouldn’t have it.
I was so happy when the Ellen Show featured Brad Pitt and Make It Right. I’m also so in awe of this woman, AGAIN, for everything she is able to bring to the world through her show. THAT is how to use power for the greater good.